I was so impressed by a lecture on the fascinating subject of ‘Economics and Ethics’ by Julian Nida-Rümelin, a former German culture minister and currently professor of philosophy and political theory at the Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich, I literally ran out and bought the book. Nida-Rümelin’s newest publication, entitled The Optimisation Trap, deals with the philosophy of a human economy.
When that first goal went in, we could hardly contain ourselves. We cheered and swayed and waved our black-red-and-gold flags. One Mexican Wave after the other rippled through the stands and we floated jubilantly on the crest of each one. For me, as a female-footballer, the opening game of the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Berlin was particularly special.
“We like to do things that are unexpected: anyone can extend [a contract] after matches have been won, but it is a good sign for the public to endorse a coach even after a defeat”. This was the testimony of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of Bayern Munich, in an interview with the German newspaper Bild Zeitung – but not in its April 11th edition; this sound-bite was published last September. Generously, the board had decided to extend to 2012 the contract of the then-cherished Bayern coach, Louis van Gaal, even though a decision was not due. In the meantime, the tale has taken an ugly twist.
“…you chose the way of the hero. And they found you amusing for a while, the people of this city. But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail…” – Green Goblin (Spiderman 2).
As internet sleuths set about scrutinising every paragraph of the doctoral dissertation of Germany’s popular defence minister for evidence of plagiarism, it seemed as if this comic-book wisdom was playing itself out once again. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is at the centre of a scandal, accused of copying parts of his Ph.D. thesis. The discrepancies are so numerous that he has had to renounce his doctor title.
All financial market information – be it economic, technical, astronomical or astrological – is subject to the psychological needs of the one who perceives, processes and eventually employs it. This was the message I tried to bring across in a recent post and partial response to a Financial Times column. The journalist seemed convinced that investors’ belief in any given method of financial market analysis, however hare-brained, is enough to make the prediction a reality. Even once I pointed out that the human need to keep our beliefs in line with our behaviour takes precedence, he didn’t budge.
To be honest, I can’t stand Dr No (name changed). If there is one economist whose work I find overreaching, underwhelming and overrated, it is his. Despite this, my fellow blogger Unwonted Candour’s recent blog about Niall Ferguson prompted me to check the popularity or otherwise of Dr No in Twitter.
Twitter, Facebook and other social networks have made it possible: I can now witness someone else’s success in the stock markets in real-time. I (and many others, of course) have been invited to see the art of moneymaking as demonstrated by a self-proclaimed guru.
The headlines in Tuesday’s Financial Times announced a story about Bernard Madoff’s bankruptcy trustee, Picard Irving, claiming $9bn from HSBC and various European banks. They are charged with allegedly ignoring several warnings about improprieties at Madoff’s funds and steering investments into them anyway.
An analyst is often asked if he throws his own money after the advice he gives to others in the financial markets. When one says no most querents are left feeling a little bewildered, if not indignant, by the answer. Their reply is always the same: why should they be persuaded when the analyst doesn’t even trust his own tips. Some expert…
As an enthusiastic follower of economist Barry Ritholtz, an entry in his highly regarded blog, The Big Picture, last week piqued my curiosity. The post had to do with two opposing world-views in economic theory – the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) and behavioural economics – and how they bear on the bubble allegedly forming in the US bond market.